Taming the Productivity Killers

From water cooler gossip, to interminable meetings, to hours wasted scrolling through social media, the modern workplace is teeming with threats to employee productivity. These distractions are taking a toll: several recent surveys show that U.S. employees are spending a mere 40-50% of their workdays engaged in job-related tasks. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to help employees avoid common productivity pitfalls.

Productivity and engagement are crucial to retention.

  • Properly Train Employees: Whether it is on-the-job training, formal courses, or online learning, any investment you make in employee training is an investment in productivity. Properly trained employees are more effective, more likely to stay at their jobs, and less likely to expose your organization to unnecessary risks and liabilities.
  • Avoid Burdensome Meetings: Before scheduling a meeting, consider whether it is necessary to accomplish your goals. Invite only essential personnel, and always draw up an agenda of items to be covered and distribute it in advance. Finally, communicate start and end times for the meeting as a whole and each agenda item, and stick to the agenda to the best of your ability.
  • Be Proactive in Reducing Gossip: An office subject to constant gossip will ultimately suffer from poor morale and lower productivity. To stem the chatter, managers should communicate with employees regularly about issues that affect the company, their departments, and their individual positions. This will foster an environment of trust and transparency, and diminish the appeal of the rumor mill.
  • Digital Distractions: While electronic communication has revolutionized how we work, it also has the capacity to impair our efficiency. For instance, computers help us work faster, but also make it easy for employees to “check out” during the workday with online shopping, entertainment, or social media. To ensure that technology does not become an impediment to productivity, employers should establish email, internet, and social media use policies, and train employees on each of these.

For more employee management tips, contact us!

Update: New I-9 Released as of September 18, 2017

Don’t forget!  As of September 18, 2017, you are now required to use the most recent version of Form I-9.  The new form can be found and downloaded here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

For information on solutions that help you maintain I-9 compliance, please contact Sabrina O’Brien at 480.302.6444 x 607 or by email at sobrien@payrollexperts.com.

Arizona Employers Need to Update Employee Handbooks

Employment law changes and evolves. Best practice for employers is to have an experienced employment attorney review and update their employee handbook to be in compliance with labor laws. At a minimum, the following areas need to be addressed to have an up-to-date employee handbook for Arizona employers.


Proposition 203, Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

In November 2010, Arizona voters approved Proposition 203, which is now known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“the Act”). The Act applies to all employers regardless of how many employees they have or their annual revenue. The Act prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with medical marijuana cards. When an employee tests positive for marijuana, the employer cannot discriminate against that employee if they provide proof they have a medical marijuana card. An employee cannot, however, be impaired by marijuana while at work. There is also a “safety sensitive” exception that allows an employer to terminate or refuse to hire an employee if the employer believes, in good faith, that the employee’s job duties are such that they affect the safety or health of the employee or others. An experienced employment attorney will discuss which employees may be exempt as “safety sensitive.” Additionally, that attorney can also revise drug and alcohol policies to ensure the employer is complying with the requirements of the Act. Refusing to hire an employee or terminating an existing employee because they have a medical marijuana card can land an employer in serious trouble.

Proposition 206, Arizona’s Paid Sick Time Law

In November 2016, Arizona voters approved Proposition 206, which is now commonly referred to as Arizona’s paid sick time law. The new law requires employers to provide 1 hour of paid time off for  every 30 hours  worked up to a maximum of  40 hours per year depending on the size of  the employer. There are very expensive penalties  and/or  consequences  for non-compliance.   Employers need to have a well-written policy in place and need to understand their obligations.

Social Media Policies

Many employers have social media policies that violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) because they prohibit the employee from engaging in “concerted activity.” If an employer terminates an employee because he or she violated their social media policy and the National Labor Relations Board determines that the policy violates the NLRA, the Board has the authority to order the employer to pay lost wages and reinstate the employee. The Board also has the power to order that the employer redact and revise any portion of their handbook that violates the NLRA. It is important to have a well-written social media policy in place and to understand the requirements of the NLRA.


A few months ago, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation. This was the first federal Circuit Court to reach this conclusion. Many believe the Seventh Circuit’s decision will eventually be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even so, there are city ordinances, including several Arizona cities, that prohibit such discrimination. In addition, the law prohibits discrimination against employees who fail to conform to gender stereotypes (i.e., a gay man acting feminine or a lesbian acting “manly.”). Many anti-discrimination policies don’t take this into account.

These are just some of the  provisions  that are missing in many Arizona employee handbooks.  Additionally, an experienced employment  attorney will review the employee handbook to ensure compliance with federal labor laws.     

About the Author :  Jeffrey Silence  is an employment law attorney at Jaburg Wilk .  He helps employers with challenging employment law issues including employee handbooks and restrictive covenants.   He  updates most Arizona employee handbooks for a flat fee of $1,750 which includes drafting a Prop 206 (Arizona Paid Sick Time) policy.

Got a Legal Question? Contact Us For More Information…

5 Guidelines for Protecting Employees from Heat Stress

With the dog days of summer under way, it is critical that employers recognize the hazards of working in hot environments and take steps to reduce the risk to workers. Consider taking the following actions that can help protect employees:

  1. Provide heat stress training.Topics you may wish to address include worker risk, prevention, symptoms, treatment, and personal protective equipment.
  2. Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day. The best way to prevent heat illness is to make the work environment cooler. Monitor weather reports daily and reschedule jobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day. When possible, routine maintenance and repair projects should be scheduled for the cooler seasons of the year.
  3. Provide rest periods with water breaks. Provide workers with plenty of cool water in convenient, visible locations in shade or air conditioning that are close to the work area. Avoid alcohol and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
  4. Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress. Workers are at an increased risk of heat stress when wearing personal protective equipment, when the outside temperature exceeds 70°F, or while working at high energy levels. Establish a routine to periodically check workers for signs and symptoms of overexposure.
  5. Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments. Allow workers to get used to hot environments by gradually increasing exposure over at least a 5-day work period. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests beginning with 50% of the normal workload and time spent in the hot environment, and then gradually building up to 100% by the fifth day.

Contact Payroll Experts for more information on Safety & Wellness including additional tips for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace!

Summer’s Here and So is Spear Phishing

Cyber attacks and resulting data breaches often begin with a spear-phishing email. Spear phishing differs from regular email phishing in its use of extensive research to target a specific audience, which allows the spear phisher to pose as a familiar and trusted entity in its email to a mark.

Spear phishers seek a company’s valuable information—such as credentials providing access to customer lists, trade secrets, and confidential employee information—and some of their methods include:

  • Directing email recipients to fake (but authentic-looking) websites that ask for information like account numbers, passwords, or other credentials; and
  • Inducing recipients to click on links or attachments that download malware onto the recipient’s computer. The malware often allows the phisher to steal passwords and sensitive data by, for example, tracking keystrokes.

The IRS offers the following tips to protect against spear phishing:

  1. Educate all employees about phishing in general and spear phishing in particular.
  2. Use strong, unique passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, remember to use different passwords for each account.
  3. Never take an email from a familiar source at face value, especially if it asks you to open a link or attachment, or includes a threat about a dire consequence that will result if you fail to take action.
  4. If an email contains a link, hover your cursor over the link to see the web address (URL) destination. If it’s not a URL you recognize, or if it’s an abbreviated URL, don’t open it.
  5. Poor grammar and odd wording are warning signs of a spear-phishing email.
  6. Consider calling the sender to confirm the authenticity of an email you’re unsure of, but don’t use the phone number in the email.
  7. Use security software that updates automatically to help defend against malware, viruses, and known phishing sites.

For more information click here and contact Payroll Experts directly to learn more ways on how to protect confidential employee information.

USCIS Releases New Form I-9

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility VerificationBy September 18, 2017, employers must use only the new version.

New Form Released by USCIS

Compliance Dates for New Form I-9
The new Form I-9 features a revision date of July 17, 2017. While employers may continue using a Form I-9 with a revision date of November 14, 2016 through September 17, 2017, as of September 18, 2017, employers must use only the new version.

Changes to Form I-9
The following revisions have been made to the List of Acceptable Documents section of the new Form I-9:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) has been added to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer are now able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and Section 3.
  • All the certifications of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) are now combined into selection C#2 in List C.
  • All List C documents have been renumbered except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on List C has changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

The new Form I-9 can be downloaded here.

For more information or to learn more about ways Payroll Experts can keep you in compliance with ever-changing laws, please contact us today!

What Employees want from HR Technology

Hard copy papers and binders are on their way out, and online interfaces are closing in. As companies plan on investing in HR software and technologies in the future, keep these three expectations and wants of the employees who will be using them in mind:

Utilization of the user experience
The concept behind the user experience (UX) is making functions easy and interactive so that consumers can get the most out of an application.

According to Personnel Today, “People want to spend money on the features that will save them time, but they’re not much value if no one wants to adopt the system because it’s too difficult to use.”

However, even with customer feedback, UX is hard to quantify. Regardless, it works best when the system is designed with the user in mind. It’s not so much about the technical aspects, but the actual experience of someone navigating and interacting with the site. HR pros are stretched for time as it is, and they need a simple, streamlined technological interface to generate more satisfied employees and employers.

Communication on all fronts
HR operates on a wide range of subjects: from talent recruitment to payroll to performance to benefits, etc. Springing for technology with an open line of communication creates an atmosphere of open communication in the workplace. Companies are moving away from the traditional nine-to-five in office hours and are adopting flexible schedules such as work-from-home opportunities and the addition of non-local employees. Allowing for more than just verbal communication can help stimulate fresh ideas and collaboration.

Online communication Online communication can spur innovative ideas.

HR technology makes information more readily and easily accessible. Online databases are equipped with day-to-day human resource support to answer any and all questions with expert consulting. This way, reliance is put on credible people who can handle an outpour of questions and concerns, freeing up HR departments’ time to focus on other areas of business.

Mobile mobility for millennials
The Census Bureau reported that millennials represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, outnumbering the 75.4 million baby boomers. That means tech-savvy individuals will continue to span the workforce expecting the same level of digital savvy from their employers. Therefore, HR departments must embrace technology to stay current.

Consumers have purchased more than 1.6 billion smart phones since the the technology was first introduced. That means most employees are accessing information on their phones. Putting human resource information available via mobile would increase the amount in which they are used. The act of incorporating mobile-friendly technology puts companies ahead. In addition, the mobile platform can reduce the amount of clerical tasks for human resource departments.

Overall, the effective management of a human resource department’s technology is a key source for a competitive and thriving business in today’s age. For the implementation of a HR management technology to be considered successful, the employees and employers must be using the technology effectively and measurably. Interactive technology combined with a strong managerial human resources team can add value to an organization as a whole.

What will the Proposed Overtime Rule do to Workplaces?

The proposed changes to overtime pay by the Obama administration would give nearly 5 million Americans working in white-collar jobs extra pay, according to the Pew Research Center. However, if enacted as it currently is, it could also break down the corporate ladder for many, business owners told The Society for Human Resource Management website. Some companies could eliminate certain positions in an effort to save money.

It could also create a lot more paperwork and regulations for corporate human resources to follow. Human resource management systems might need to keep tabs on how long employees work each day to make sure they don’t over eight hours or 40 hours a week.

New thresholds
The Department of Labor’s proposal raises the threshold for those currently exempt from overtime pay to $970 per week or $50,440 a year. Set in 2004, the current baseline is $455 per week or $23,660 per year for employees working over 40 hours a week.

Under the proposed plan, the threshold would automatically rise each year based on the Consumer Price Index or on wage percentiles, according to the Pew Research Center.

Meanwhile, anyone may comment about the department’s proposal via a government website until Sept. 4, 2015. The new rate would be a boon to many employees, but most especially to single mothers and other women who hold more lower-paying jobs than men, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Companies say a new federal overtime proposal could hurt them.The U.S. Labor Department’s overtime proposals could make climbing the corporate ladder tricky.

Logistical problems
However, not everyone applauds the administration’s move as some companies plan to carefully watch how many hours their employees work, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“It’s a big logistical issue to make sure you’re catching all the time,” Ron Peppe, vice president of legal and human resources at Canam Steel Corp., told The Wall Street Journal, adding that his company already employed a full-time compliance officer to ensure the business meets the proposal’s requirements if it becomes law.

The proposal could lead businesses to cut workers’ hours, hire more part-time employees and curtail certain benefits, the SHRM website reported, in an effort to avoid paying overtime or compensate for having to pay it.

With more employees eligible for overtime, it could prove problematic for white-collar job holders to climb the corporate ladder.

“They may also stop providing the normal career ladder employees may have otherwise had since many assistant manager, retail manager and other lower-level exempt positions may be eliminated,” Robert Boonin, an attorney at Dykema in Detroit, told the SHRM. “Employers may also determine that they need fewer traditional managers, and instead use lead employees to oversee various shifts or departments.”

Hours cut
Donna DiPasqua, president of Subway Management Inc., a restaurant operator in Ocala, Florida, said if the proposal becomes a law it would cause her to cut staff hours at her six restaurants, hire more part-time workers and introduce a lower starting salary to new employees.

Meanwhile, Famous Toastery, a chain of restaurants across North Carolina and South Carolina, recently enacted changes to its employees’ schedules in an effort to stave off the expenses overtime pay would bring.

According to The Wall Street Journal, managers are curtailing their work to 40 hours a week and giving former managerial duties like closing up at night to waiters and waitresses.

The proposal could also affect jobs that require fluidity between work and home. Employees who typically work via smartphones, tablets or laptops from home or on the road could see their hours cut or monitored even more.

Compensating employees more could also lead companies to offer fewer benefits, have workers pay more out of their paycheck for insurance or cut back on matching pension funds.

Improve Employee Onboarding Using HR Management Software

The economy is once again showing signs of returning to levels seen prior to the onset of The Great Recession. This is due in large part to the fact that companies are once again in the market for talented employees who can come in and help the organization quickly reach its operational goals. However, in spite of the fact that organizations are aggressively on the hunt for new talent, signaling a willingness to add to their payrolls, on the candidate side of things, the actual onborading process that organizations have in place could use a bit of an overhaul.

According to the Harvard Business Review, citing data from the Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, 22 percent of organizations polled stated that they didn’t have formal onboarding policies and procedures in place. Additionally, for the companies that did have established protocols when it came to processing new hires, 28 percent stated that their programs were highly successful, while 49 percent revealed that they had only experienced moderately positive outcomes in this area.

The MIT Sloan Management Review wrote that having a streamlined and efficient onboarding process is a crucial first step into getting employees comfortable with the companies they work for. This allows them to retain individuals longer and it helps people better indoctrinate themselves into a pre-established corporate culture.

This is one of the reasons why the integration of a human resource management system has become a priority for companies.

Integrating HR management software can streamline the onboarding process for new hires. Integrating HR management software can streamline the onboarding process for new hires.

How HR technology makes onboarding more efficient
When an employee gets hired at a new company, he or she is oftentimes required to complete extensive amounts of paperwork. This can be related to benefits elections, direct deposit information and other necessary data that is collected and added to company personnel files.

Another often overlooked aspect of onboarding is getting a candidate comfortable in his or her role. This can include shadowing, training and engaging with individuals who are more experienced to help shorten the learning curve.

According to iCIMS, an HR management system that automates many of these processes can have a profoundly positive impact on new hire engagement and productivity. For example, online portals can help employees monitor how far along they are in their training and highlight modules and activities that need to be completed before they become fully ramped.

In addition, these databases can also be a one-stop repository for storing any and all documents pertaining to the onboarding process that an employee can refer back to if need be. These are just a few of the benefits of a company using software and technology when add new members to their staff. However, simply integrating this solution doesn’t automatically guarantee success.

HBR wrote that organizations should never adopt the mindset than an HR management system is a substitute for one-on-one human interaction. This particular tool is designed to develop a stronger bond between the organization, those who have been placed in positions of leadership and the new hire. There will still be a need for those in HR to take a more hands-on approach at times during the onboarding process. The software is simply necessary to shorten the amount of time it takes to get individuals up to speed in their new positions and allow HR professional to focus on more important back office tasks that keep a company moving forward.

More companies will begin to explore the viability of an HR management system and integrate it into their operations. Technology has allowed many areas of industry to improve dramatically. HR is certainly no different.

5 Helpful Tips for Choosing a Human Resources Management System

There are many options available to companies looking to improve the effectiveness of their human resource department using software. Technology advancements have streamlined many business processes, making them more efficient and reducing the number of human errors that occur. While mistakes do happen, using tools that mitigate these occurrences is a smart business practice.

Choosing an HR management system calls for a number of front end considerations to be made. Choosing an HR management system calls for a number of front-end considerations to be made.

However, those heading corporate HR departments and considering the adoption of software may feel overwhelmed with the number of vendors and platforms present in the marketplace. Making a selection can be difficult. Still, there are number of steps that can be taken to ensure that the human resources management system chosen will benefit the organization and make the recruitment, hiring, onboarding and other important processes much more effective:

  1. Understand the benefits of HR software: While many HR professionals may have a general idea of the benefits of tools that automate many of the manual processes they’re used to, CompareHRIS wrote that it is important to have a strong level of comprehension of what these tools can actually do. It may be helpful to narrow down software choices and do a thorough comparative analysis to make the most informed decision.
  2. Highlight business requirements: There are a variety of job functions that HR professionals have to perform on a daily basis. In many cases, an HR technology platform can automate many of these responsibilities. A blog post from emPerform suggested that organizations be clear on areas of inefficiency within the HR department. This could be related to payroll, employee training, tracking attendance, benefits management or collecting and storing candidate resumes for easy access. By highlighting areas where an organization can improve its HR functions, helps to facilitate the vendor selection process when it comes to choosing a platform that will help the HR department improve from an operational standpoint.
  3. Develop a strong knowledge of vendor offerings: Some HR software vendors sell their platforms and then offer little to no follow-up support once it has been purchased and installed. This is why it is important to work with a vendor that offers post-installation customer service and technical support. It may be helpful to interview other companies that have installed the same or similar solution, check Internet forums for feedback on a particular platform, or work with local HR associations to see if they’re familiar with and have used the platform the organization may be interested in. All of these steps can help HR decision-makers be more comfortable in their choice.
  4. Make the selection process collaborative: Before HR leaders make a decision to work with a software vendor, it may be wise to involve others in the process. This can include senior HR representatives and those who may not be as seasoned. The goal is to gain a thorough understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by these individuals and then collect this information and choose a platform that will mitigate these issues.
  5. Ensure that current IT infrastructure will support the software: When introducing any new technology into a company, those in the information technology department must always be involved in this process. The IT professionals have a strong working knowledge of the systems already in place and will be able to make recommendations on solutions that will integrate seamlessly, or suggest network and other upgrades necessary to facilitate implementation. While it may be exciting to incorporate new software that will streamline the HR department, it can be a frustrating experience to go through an entire installation and encounter operational hiccups. This can be avoided by consulting IT first.

State of HR Tech is Slow, Steady but not Fast Enough for Millennials

A recent study shows that human resource technology is slowly gaining ground with businesses, but implementation of user-friendly software isn’t as fast as millennials want it to be.

According to a SilkRoad, a talent management solutions company, survey of 153 job recruiters from around the world, 30 percent of those polled in the online survey said talent acquisition and management software was making a “slow but steady” impact on their companies. Meanwhile, 24 percent of HR officers said it was too early to know how human resource technology was effecting their businesses.

SilkRoad surveyors described the HR automation process as an “evolution, not revolution” when it comes to companies’ slow embrace of fully-integrated software.

The new findings are in SilkRoad’s 2015 HR Technology Report published this summer.

Still not fully integrated
Half of the human resource officers polled recruit and train for companies with a workforce with more than 500 employees. Nearly a quarter of respondents work in the human resources division of a workplace with more than 5,000 workers, according to SilkRoad’s report.

While the majority of the respondents – 55 percent – said that they use a software to handle all of their HR functions, only 14 percent of them said that all of their HR activities are fully integrated into one software system. Many HR departments are phasing out their use of paper, but the majority of those polled said they still used spreadsheets in combination with their HR software.

“Slow but steady progress is good news, but HR technology offers so much more potential,” John Shackleton, SilkRoad’s president and CEO said in a press release. “Use of a tightly connected talent management suite — with the secret sauce of data integration — brings so many benefits, including the use of strategic data, a consistent user experience and increased productivity. It can truly impact business results.”

In fact, the majority of those surveyed said the problems they face when the HR software isn’t fully integrated can be everything from workflow tapering off at times to compliance issues.

A recent study says HR needs to implement mobile technology in the hiring process.A new study suggests HR departments embrace mobile technology.

A big gap
One of the major gaps in implementing new HR technology is reaching out to prospective employees via mobile. A 2015 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study found that more people are using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to look for work. Almost half of millennials use a mobile device while on the job, and 42 percent of job seekers use their phones to search for new employment for at least 10 minutes a day, the study showed.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of human resource officers in the SilkRoad survey said that mobile HR technology access was something they thought their company needed. However, only 29 percent said they were using it to search for new hires or to fill positions.

Mobile priority
According to SilkRoad, embracing mobile technology should be a priority for HR departments if they want their businesses to stay competitive.

An Information Services Group survey from 2014 made similar conclusions citing that human resource workers need HR technology in order to gain and keep millennial employees.

“As the ‘war for talent’ heats up, CEOs recognize that their employees – especially millennials – expect their interactions with HR departments to be as easy and engaging as shopping on Amazon,” Debora Card, a partner at ISG HR/Benefits Practice said in a press release regarding the study’s results. “Finding and retaining the right employees is also a top concern, and managers are looking to HR technology to provide analytics to help them make better employee decisions.

3 Benefits to Companies Adopting HR Technology

Like professionals in many other fields, those in human resource management are adopting the most progressive and innovative digital solutions to enhance their departments. Here are some ways in which businesses can benefit from adopting the latest HR technological advances:

#1 Heightened talent management
Advances in technology can help transform talent management systems and directly improve HR’s ability to hire. Despite any weakness in the global economy, CEOs are offensive toward slowing growth.

“Once again, we found the issue of attracting, retaining, engaging and growing talent at the top of CEOs’ minds,” executive vice president at The Conference Board said. “Not only was human capital the top-ranked concern on its own, talent- and leadership-based strategies also figure prominently in their responses to other pressing challenges.

Forbes reported ​that innovative technology can uncover core employee traits and then match to company projects accordingly. The ability to predict a candidate’s efficacy before hiring can save a business time and money down the road.

#2 Eliminating paper waste
Sustainability has become a key focus for companies around the globe. To this end, organizations are assessing the ways in which their practices will be held accountable for the global environment long term. The reduction of carbon footprints can be tackled in a multitude of ways, but one is human resource management moving to an online sphere.

Companies adopt technological tools to promote sustainability.Companies adopt technological tools to promote sustainability.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America still uses 69 million tons of paper each year. Online databases reduce paper usage with tools such as payroll systems and direct deposit. Though they may seem small, these steps have the snowball effect. As a result of direct deposit, employees won’t have to travel to go to the bank which reiterates the conservation of the earth’s resources.

#3 Advanced solutions keep you plugged into the latest
In an ever changing technological environment, companies are looking to stay both relevant and current. According to Human Resource Executive, the HR profession is on the threshold of emerging technological management changes. Just as punch cards and time tracking may seem archaic now, at the time it provided sophistication for HR departments.

Technological innovations will constantly be evolving, and HR departments must be proactive to thrive. Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board said, “CEOs keep placing their focus on growing top-line revenue supported by bringing new products and services to market and leveraging both innovation and technology to improve processes and operational performance.” Those who not only keep up, but capitalize on these changes can increase both their individual employee and overall company worth.

How HR is Changing its Focus

The human resource department in any company can often be considered its nerve center. The individuals working inside of this critical business unit must not only make sure that the organization employs the best and brightest candidates possible, but they must also make sure that existing personnel are kept happy in their roles.

Thanks to extensive innovations in technology, both tasks are as easy to accomplish as they’ve ever been. Since its inception, big data and analytics have completely altered the way companies do business. The ability to take a much deeper and comprehensive look into the way a business functions so that problem areas can be identified and fixed, while strengths are highlighted and then built upon, has been extremely beneficial to a variety of organizations.

However, this same concept can also be applied to individual departments inside of a company, such as human resource management. These professionals don a variety of caps on any given day, and having tools that makes the job easier is a welcome addition inside of many HR divisions.

Human resources adopting analytics and data has made the recruitment and retention processes much more people focused.The adoption of analytics and data by human resource staff has made the recruitment and retention processes much more people focused.

People are now more important than talent
Prior to big data being introduced into the business world, many companies looking to increase the sizes of their staff, were on the hunt for the most qualified job seekers available. However, the competition became stiff as organizations often found themselves trying to recruit the same individuals. Therefore, a change was in order.

In article written by Josh Bersin in Forbes, people analytics is a technology-based strategy designed to merge business data into HR functions. Not only does this method make the recruitment process more data-centric and strategic, but there is also an added focus on retention, something that many companies may not have made a priority before.

These days, companies understand the importance of holding on to their staff members, particularly the ones who routinely perform at a high level, while also being able to attract candidates with the ability to come in add value from the first day of hire.

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Mims wrote that today, many companies now view their employees as assets and treat them as such, all with the help of data.

“In a modern corporation, data is a kind of currency,” Mims stated. “Measuring and acting on things once viewed as ‘warm and fuzzy,’ like whether employees feel recognized for their work, has had a quantifiable impact on retention and productivity.”

Why human resources management systems are the future
HRM software is an advancement that has helps to streamline HR and make the department itself more efficient. Now, those in human resources have a wealth of information at their fingertips that can make employee recruitment and retention much easier.

It is innovations such as these that are pushing HR into the future. Industry professionals would be wise to keep themselves abreast of the latest technology trends that can help make achieving success in this multi-faceted role, easier.

3 Ways to Improve Employee Onboarding using HRMS Software

The workforce in the U.S. is changing dramatically. As more baby boomers retire and those in Gen X are moving up in their careers to replace them, many entry and midlevel opportunities are now being occupied by millennials. Many organizations have become accepting of the reality that those in Gen Y have become the most dominant group in the jobs market.

However, companies are also beginning to understand that to better attract these individuals, they may have to modernize the way they operate. It has been well documented that millennials have a fondness for technology. From laptops to smartphones and tablets, Gen Yers engage with these devices on a daily basis. This, of course, isn’t to suggest that no one else does, but millennials are the only group that doesn’t know what it’s like to grow up without advanced technology.

They rely on these gadgets for both entertainment and business purposes. Therefore, those in Gen Y have an expectation that the companies they elect to work have embraced the use of technology as tightly as they have. For this reason, organizations would be wise to begin implementing strategies to modernize many of their most critical business processes, such as onboarding.

In an article for Workforce magazine, Sarah Fister Gale wrote that for companies that fail to implement changes in their recruiting processes, filling open positions will be a difficult proposition. This is especially true when looking to hire millennials.

Technology is helping to make employee onboarding more efficient for HR professionals. Technology is helping to make employee onboarding more efficient for HR professionals.

Entrepreneur magazine wrote that many companies have placed significant importance on getting new hires assimilated and integrated into the established culture of the organization. However, this process can be delayed if an individual is required to manually complete lots of paperwork before being allowed to get started in his or her role.

This is why a human resource management system is a great tool to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to locate candidates and get critical employee paperwork completed so the individual can begin working in his or her job function.

Here is a list of ways that automated onboarding can make the lives of HR professionals much easier:

  • Accurate record-keeping: When dealing with large amounts of paperwork, it can be easy for items to become lost or misplaced. This is especially true during the new hire process. Incomplete employee files that have missing information can be detrimental to an organization. Job Science wrote that a human resource management system can help track all of the critical elements of an employee file that will result in better overall personnel management and free up HR professionals to devote time to other important aspects of the business.
  • Benefits administration: When new hires come aboard, one of the most important documents they will need to complete are those related to benefits elections. When paper is involved, not only is this time consuming for the employee, but for the HR department as well. HRMS World wrote that by using technology to automate both the employee election process and the coordination of the benefits themselves, makes for a much more transparent and streamlined process.
  • Employee self-service: When hiring millennials, it may be wise to have an online portal where all of the paperwork these individuals need to complete will live. HR Bartender wrote that not only will this appeal to then Gen Y technology attraction, but it significantly reduces manual errors and improves the overall efficiency of the HR department. Many companies are adopting these online portals and finding success in better managing both new and existing employees.

Is it Possible to Find Out the ROI of Wellness Programs?

Wellness programs are the next big buzzword in employee benefits. There are a lot of different reasons for companies to make their workers more “fit”, not the least of which is making them happier and more productive. However, the bigger question is what the effects are for the bottom line? These are employee benefit programs that require a significant investment, after all. How can you measure the return on investment of someone who exercises more than he or she used to?

With that said, there are results out there that can demonstrate definitively the positive effects of a wellness program. The Harvard Business Review reported on how the Johnson & Johnson Company first instigated a wellness program for its staff in the 1990s. On the employee level, the results have been substantial: The number of smokers on staff declined by two-thirds between 1995 and 2010, while high blood pressure cases dropped by more than half. More importantly, though, they saw health care savings of more than $250 million between 2000 and 2010. Between 2002 and 2008, the ROI was $2.71 for every dollar spent.

The well-being of savings
Wellness programs such as vouchers for gyms and health and fitness centers are an effective way to counteract health care costs, especially when used in conjunction with grants and other government incentives. While the Affordable Care Act forces employers to offer its employees health insurance, it also provides significant incentives to offset the cost by creating these additional benefits programs to suit the needs of the staff. These take the form of tax credits and grants.

Wellness programs results in significant savings to health costs.Wellness programs result in significant savings on health costs.

By living a healthier lifestyle, there is less of a chance that an employee will be stricken with a chronic illness. This results in fewer sick days, and less money spent on health care claims. Workers deemed high-risk to insurers are likely to become low-risk, which reduces insurance premiums and other costs. According to another study supplied by HBR, a single employer offered a cardiac rehabilitation and exercise program to 185 employees and their spouses. After six months, 57 percent of those deemed high-risk for non-heart related reasons became low risk, and medical claim costs declined by $1,421 per participant on average year-over-year. The ROI was approximately $6 for every dollar spent.

It’s in the game
Of course, not every business will get the high savings shown here, but there can still be significant savings in the right circumstances. What matters is implementation, according to the American Society of Association Executives. One method of doing this is through gamification of the wellness program. The organization cites the American Medical Association as an example of this. It has different programs that promote health and fitness, from the Healthy Lunch Club to wellness fairs. The important thing is that these events plus other activities are assigned point values. These points can then be used for discounts on other activities, such as going to the gym. With this system in place, employers not only maximize the potential of wellness programs, but increase participation between employees.

Successful Companies Need Adaptable Human Resource Tech

Annual findings from a human resource consultancies and risk management firms, show that more companies around the world are planning to invest in human resource technology or contract out the work to an HR software service.

According to Towers Watson’s 18th annual HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, almost 9 out of 10 of the companies polled said they will spend the same amount or more on human resource technology when compared to last year’s rate.

This year’s survey included almost 800 companies from over 37 countries.

HR tech growth
The presence of HR technology is increasing across the globe, as 30 percent – an all-time high – of businesses responded that they’d replace their current in-house human resource system with an outside firm. Meanwhile, 40 percent remarked that they planned to switch to a software service to take over HR tasks.

Outsourcing employment, recruiting and paycheck processing, is becoming increasingly popular as smaller sized businesses see savings in both their time and money.

“Modernizing core HR technology is emerging as the primary HR service delivery priority,” Mike DiClaudio, global leader of Towers Watson’s HR Service Delivery, said. “While in the past, companies have mostly invested in secondary technology for talent, compensation and performance management, there has been a dramatic shift to investing in core HR systems.”

According to DiClaudio, companies are turning more to cloud-based systems to handle human resources.

More firms are finding the benefits of cloud computing HR technology.Successful companies are embracing HR technology.

It’s all in the cloud
Innovation in cloud computing software has smaller organizations investing more money into HR systems because it enables the little companies to have access to professional HR solutions that were once only accessible to large corporations.

“They get all of the functionality at a lower cost without all the infrastructure,” Anthony Abbatiello, principal of Deloitte’s human capital practice told Workforce.

Midsize and small firms are embracing cloud HR technology because they can implement it faster than larger businesses who might have a history of using different human resource platforms and software.

Technology Advice, a 100-person technology marketing firm in Nashville, is just one small company that found benefits in outsourcing its HR work to a human resource cloud computing firm. The company only has two human resource workers, and they aren’t as adept with technology as a large full-scale HR department would be.

Paper meets computing
One oddity the Towers Watson survey found was that while most companies reported they were happy with their digital HR services and platforms, they weren’t abandoning paper altogether. While 61 percent of businesses polled said they wanted to add more mobile HR tech into their companies, 28 percent said they still use paper to complete some HR tasks.

However, organizations using HR technology might have a leg up on the competition, so to speak. A Bersin by Deloitte study found companies that embrace analytical technology for HR solutions outpace other businesses when it comes to the bottom line.

4 Emerging Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning

If you ask anyone in human resources what the major trend of the last year or so has been, they’ll say millennials joining the workforce. They’re not wrong in believing that. Millennials are the group that just recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest portion of the workforce this year. According to the Brookings Institute, that share will likely reach 75 percent in just 10 years. The nature of employees and workplace culture will change dramatically.

But it’s not all about the young folks; there are cultural and technological trends that will greatly shape the workforce in 2015 and in the years ahead. HR professionals who pay attention to these developments will be a few steps ahead of the curve and have a better grip on recruiting and managing employees. This will strengthen their companies over the long haul and better their careers. Here are some of the leading developments:

1. Big data and the analytics machine
If there is one area that technology is influencing workforce planning above all others, it’s the use of data. With more and more information being mined from employees and the world as a whole, it’s easy to see that big data is growing, and with it comes the rise of analytics. According to RIS News, there will be 4.4 million new jobs added in the field of analytics, and several key metrics will emerge to identify matters concerning hiring and work culture. Identifying these key gaps can help HR professionals determine a solid path for the workforce through assessing and addressing issues with retention and turnover, talent gaps and how employees interact with the world around them.

Analytics and big data will greatly impact workforce planning and management.

Analytics and big data will greatly impact workforce planning and management.

2. A constant need for skilled workers
Skilled workers are becoming more of a commodity than ever before. As an analyst of the APM Group explained to The Nation, baby boomers are quickly retiring in large numbers – far more than what millennials can expect to replace. What this will eventually cause is a significant gap in available workers to meet the demands of the company, whether it’s for engineers, scientists or designers. HR professionals should pay attention to these developments and start to plan around them. For example, professionals can establish succession plans for long-time workers while seeking out students still in college.​

3. Contractors gain prominence
With the skill gap being an issue, one way for companies to cover this breach is through contract work. It can address short-term concerns such as dealing with major projects and filling for someone’s temporary leave of absence. More importantly, as the Affordable Care Act takes hold, employers may find it beneficial to hire more contractors than full-time employees, since the former are exempt from employer rules.

4. Strength in diversity, if done right
As companies seek to grow, mergers, acquisitions and other methods of bringing in new life also bring about inevitable cultural clashes. It may be due to the employees at the individual level, or because the company itself had a different approach to running its business. Managing integration will help new staff become as valuable if not more than they were prior to the change.

How HR Software can Help Prevent Wage Theft

When people leave their homes to go and put in a hard day at work, they expect to be paid for it. Not only is this reasonable, but it’s also part and parcel of the way the employment system in the U.S. works. However, wage theft has become an all too common occurrence and many people, particularly laborers, are unfortunately discovering this harsh truth.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, wage theft can take on many different forms. SHRM wrote that this could include an employer withholding tips that an employee may have earned, not compensating individuals for the amount of overtime they work, or even paying people less than the current or state federal minimum wage. All of these examples work to the detriment of employees and can lead to disengagement and the effectiveness of labor forces can be severely diminished.

To combat this, the Wage Theft Prevention Act was put into law. Under this legislation, employers are required to provide workers with a written wage-and-hour notice, which details a variety of information including regular and overtime pay rates, the days that people can expect to be paid and basic information about the company itself, Phillips Lylte, LLP wrote.

In addition, if an organization is found to be non-compliant of the law, financial penalties can be levied per offense, with higher amounts being called for should it be determined that a company willfully and knowingly operated outside of the law and infringed on the rights of workers. This could also lead to decision-makers being sentenced to jail time and an organization being forced to forfeit its business license.

Wage theft in the U.S. is common, but the Wage Theft Prevention Act aims to mitigate the high number of occurrences. Wage theft in the U.S. is common, but the Wage Theft Prevention Act aims to mitigate the large number of occurrences.

$700,000 in wages stolen from Utah and Arizona workers
While wage theft is not uncommon, if left unchecked, this can lead to pretty egregious violations. According to a report from RH Reality Check, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation uncovered that construction workers in Utah and Arizona would need to be compensated for back wages in the amount of $700,000.

The deception was uncovered when workers involved in the building of houses, were classified as member/owners of the limited liability company they worked for. This, in essence, kept them from being classified as employees under state and federal law. Incorrect worker classifications are a common way some organizations shield themselves from having to pay overtime and providing workers with other benefits, such as insurance.

“Hiding behind deceptive legal partnerships to reduce wages owed to employees is wrong,” Thomas Perez, the current U.S. Secretary of Labor, was quoted by RH Reality Check in his ruling. “Employers who misclassify workers do not pay their fair share of payroll taxes, which cheats critical state and federal programs. The misclassification of workers shortchanges every single taxpayer by forcing them to pick up the slack for those who break the law.”

How a human resources management system can prevent wage theft
Technology has improved a wide variety of business sectors, including HR. Companies looking to operate within the law as it relates to proper employee compensation and other employer-related record keeping practices would be wise to implement an HR management system.

Not only does a solution of this kind ensure that employee files are kept in order and meticulously maintained, the system can also be programmed with the most up-to-date labor laws so that a corporate human resource department can be comfortable knowing that both existing and new employees will have their files maintained in accordance with the wage theft regulations.

This not only protects the companies themselves, but also the employees who work hard in their roles and expect to be compensated accordingly.

How is HR Changing to Meet Millennials’ Needs at Work?

Now that millennials outnumber baby boomers as the largest living generation in the nation, businesses and corporate human resources will need to change their cultures. Born roughly between 1982 and 2000, the age group now accounts for 83.1 million people surpassing the 75.4 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As a large block of the post-World War II generation start to retire and more millennials join the workforce, human resource departments must change to meet their new employees’ expectations.

Millennial trends
A faster change of pace might be on the horizon, too, as the economy improves and as millennial employees continue to switch jobs with frequency, according to The Society for Human Resource Management.

However, 20-somethings don’t job hop as much as previous generations although younger staff members are moving to better jobs with higher pay when the opportunity arises, The Washington Post reported. Staying in one position at a business for years could change as the market continues to bounce back from the recession, employers create more positions and employee retention becomes a bigger priority.

Millennial employees expect frequent raises and bonuses compared to older generations.Millennial employees will change company culture as more baby boomers retire.

Culture change
These changes will also mean a shift in company culture. A 2014 survey of American employees by SHRM found, millennial staffers were slightly less satisfied with their current working situation than compared with the rest of those surveyed. Sixty percent of respondents said they were happy with their current salary, but only 58 percent of millennial workers felt the same.

While saddled with more college debt, millennial employees want more financial incentives to stay, Business Wire reported, and they want it early and often.

A study performed by recruiter The Addison Group that was cited by Business Wire found the millennial workforce views bonuses and raises as more of a yearly expectation than as a reward for a job well done. Forty percent of millennial respondents said they should receive a promotion every one to two years at a company. Out of the 1,000-plus employees polled, 31 percent of the 20-somethings said they should receive a bonus more than once a year. Meanwhile, 24 percent of the young employees reported they expected a raise every year.

“Today’s employment market is geared toward the candidate,” said Thomas Moran, CEO of Addison Group, in a press release. “As the economy continues to improve, attracting and retaining talent has been increasingly challenging for employers across all industries – highly specialized and heavily regulated industries like IT, financial services and healthcare face even more complex hiring challenges. As a result, it’s important that employers understand what employees prioritize when considering employment options, and what can be done to retain top talent.”

How to handle millennial employees
While some employers might tag the young age group as starry-eyed – expecting ideal working situations – others say the younger generation is just being pragmatic. As the job market and rest of the economy recovers, they will want what they consider fair pay, SHRM said.

“They’re not going to work for peanuts just because they want to do good in the world,” Melanie Shreffler, senior editorial director at Deep Focus, told SHRM. Shreffler’s marketing agency studies millennial opinions and habits.

However, there are ways to retain millennial employees besides granting numerous and frequent pay raises and bonuses. Since millennials want to advance in the workplace, train and groom younger staff for promotions while clearly stating what they need to accomplish to reach that position.

What Are You Doing to Improve Your Mobile Applications?

There’s no mistaking the fact that not only is mobile here to stay, it is now the ruler of the Internet. According to the most recent statistics compiled by comScore, smartphone use has gone up 394 percent and tablet use an astounding 1,721 percent in just four years to overtake the desktop as the primary means of computing and accessing the Internet. Your recruiting strategy should definitely involve mobile at every point. That includes your company’s job application. Are you doing enough to ensure potential applicants can easily upload their resume and cover letter, fill out forms and link to key social networks on their mobile phones?

Dinosaurs in optimized times
Mobile applications can represent the lynchpin of a recruiting strategy centered on smartphones and tablets. LinkedIn’s numbers on mobile speak clearly regarding where candidates look to apply to jobs. For example, 72 percent of active candidates look at a company’s career site on a smartphone or tablet while 45 percent apply for a job that way and 43 percent upload their resumes through a job app. Some 29 percent of them didn’t apply for a job this way because they couldn’t customize their resume or CV in any way.

Applicants now apply to jobs via mobile. Are you prepared?Applicants now apply to jobs via mobile devices. Are you prepared?

While this is a great opportunity for many companies, the problem is that their application systems were probably last updated before June 2007, when the first iPhone made its debut. This is evidenced by a recent survey by Glassdoor, which revealed that nearly 49 percent of applicants found it difficult to apply for a job through a mobile device. HR firm HR Virtuoso noted that ATS software lacks a significant amount of mobile optimization. This includes:

  • Display support or responsive design
  • Form simplification
  • Using social network profiles in lieu of a resume
  • Resume, CV or profile customization

By making it difficult for applicants to apply to jobs over their mobile devices, you greatly risk losing excellent hires to competitors.

Thinking in devices
There are many features of the application that you can overhaul so that it suits the use of smartphones and tablets. The first is the form itself. There are quite a few ways of going about this process, but the simplest solution recommended by Human Resources Executive Online is offering to link to profiles from social networks such as LinkedIn. By having this option available, applicants can automatically fill out many of the form fields such as name, education and experience without having to tap everything in on their touch screens.

Incorporating responsive design can also help greatly. This concept enables a job application to adjust in size and shape based on what display the user currently views it on. By having this feature on applications, you can enable a seamless experience over multiple mobile and non-mobile devices. An applicant can start the application on a smartphone, then save it and later access it on a laptop where he or she can then upload additional documentation. These tactics, mixed in with the right resources, can help you improve your application process so that anyone with a mobile device can apply without problems.

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